lacquering leather armour (has become Archer vs Armour)

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Postby Trading-Dragon » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:10 pm

I just remembered something i have once read while researching types of arrowheads...though I am afraid i can't offer the source, I simply don't remember which book it was.

If memory serves, the overwhelming majority of arrowheads excavated from medieval battlefields (definately english but again, can't remember the period here) were hardened broadheads, not bodkins (though the mentioning of these two types in the same sentence would suggest they had been found side-by-side in the same battlefield).

If it's true that general purpose arrows outnumbered armour-piercing ones I therefore surmise that penetrating armour wasn't actually the archer's chief concern.

So perhaps we are either overestimating the number of armoured men
on the field or we are underestimating the warbow's effectiveness. Certain is only that men did get killed, one way or the other.

I suppose it's a bit like modern bulletproof vests...most of what is worn would not stop what comes out of an automatic rifle all the time, but it certainly shifts the odds in your favor, otherwise nobody would bother.


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:21 am

The French also used massed levies of men who were peasents taken from the field and given a spear to fight with in the 14th and early 15th century. T
hese poor souls would be the ones who were most at risk and as no well to do Lord would want to plough his own lands the effect of his work force being wiped out could spur his *rse into gear.


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Postby Trading-Dragon » Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:42 pm

Interesting point, actually. How many ill-equipped levies does it take to steamroller over one fully armoured knight (dismounted, as in the english style of warfare)?

Or rather, how dangerous are untrained levies to a minority of men-at-arms with decent kit?

I'd feel quite confident myself to take on 2 untrained men wearing my full tin. But I reckon as soon as it'd be a three on one or if the two of them had any training whatsoever, I would hit the dirt faster then I'd know it.

Of course, that doesn't take actual battlefield conditions into account. Just speculating, really...


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Postby Honourius III » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:53 pm

Hi Guys
I’ve come in half way through this discussion and now I feel I must say my piece. I was at Kelmarsh using a longbow. It is 45lbs not powerful as I don’t want to hurt anyone. Also we had to shoot at half or three-quarter draw, (very imprecise) At full draw using a big bow I can drop them in where I like. I can and do drop arrows in a ten foot circle at 200yds. At a re-enactment I cant because of the variables. Also you tend to forger that as the steel plate became more sophisticated so the same technology improve the arrow head. Another thing you seem to be under the elusion is that an arrow after travelling a long way looses its inpact. Up to a point that is correct, but beyond that point it starts gaining that impact again. Just think, if an arrow has to reach a 300ft in the air it must gain almost the same energy dropping 300ft down. I have also noted that a square bodkin is like a cold chisel with four cutting edges, if it hits square on to plate, like a chisel it will make a small hole. But a chisel is only half the equipment it needs a hammer. That’s the shaft of the arrow.



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Postby Trading-Dragon » Sun Aug 16, 2009 2:08 am

Yep. We've all drawn the same conclusions:

Shooting in the killzone VS. clout shooting
Deflective armour VS. gaps in the armour
Levies in soft kit VS. elite man-at-arms in a tin can
many broadheads VS few bodkins

But the basic question remains: why was the warbow so effective? We have a good idea of the details, now we are trying to form the complete picture out of the puzzle pieces.

I still deduct that the archer was never really intended to take on the fully armoured knight but rather to kill his retinue and his horse and generally soften up the enemy. Any lucky shots that fell the tinnies are an added bonus!

And of course we acknowledge that re-enactment battle archery is as historically accurate as the fighting itself. Not very much. But man is it fun! 8)


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Postby Fox » Sun Aug 16, 2009 8:21 am

Honourius III wrote:Hi Guys
I’ve come in half way through this discussion and now I feel I must say my piece.

Welcome.

Honourius III wrote:I was at Kelmarsh using a longbow. It is 45lbs not powerful as I don’t want to hurt anyone. Also we had to shoot at half or three-quarter draw, (very imprecise)

As a complete aside, I'm going to provide some feedback to Allan once the season is done.
I would say the archers at Kelmarsh were much less effective than they should have been because (a) they started direct fire far too late and (b) they massively underdrew the bows.
I think there are quite a number of the heavily armoured guys who would happily take direct fire from bows up to 50lbs at full draw and if it's possible to organiser the field so they can that would look awesome.

Honourius III wrote:At full draw using a big bow I can drop them in where I like. I can and do drop arrows in a ten foot circle at 200yds.

Very few of the arrows at Kelmarsh seem to be falling any further away from us than that. It just turns out that as the arrows rattle closely round your feet, there is a lot more scope to miss than I'd imagined.
I am, however, aware of the stark contrast in accuracy of closer range, direct fire. Ouch.

Honourius III wrote:Another thing you seem to be under the elusion is that an arrow after travelling a long way looses its inpact.

Now hold on one second. Where did anyone say that?!
I don't mind you wanting to make a point, but I rather object if you put words in my mouth, let alone in all our mouths.
If anyone is under any such illusion, then they have not said so.

Honourius III wrote:But a chisel is only half the equipment it needs a hammer. That’s the shaft of the arrow.

I understand that Mark Stretton's slo-mo video shows the arrow shaft flexing and thus causing repeated hammer-drill-like impacts against armour; I've yet to see it, but it's a fascinating effect.

Trading-Dragon wrote:Yep. We've all drawn the same conclusions

Errm. Not so quickly. I'm not sure we've at all drawn the same conclusions at all. I rather object to you saying so, when the content of the posts are to the contary.
There seems, for instance, to be quite a range of opinions on the effectiveness of arrows against armour; and I strongly disagree with your assertion that "the archer was never really intended to take on the fully armoured knight".



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Postby WorkMonkey » Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:36 am

Fox wrote:
I was quite suprised, at Kelmarsh this year in the volley firing for Agincourt, how quite a dense volley can miss just about everyone.
It leads me to conjecture that the chances of being hit at all at a distance are less than you might think instinctively.


Maybe you just had bad archers? At Hastings 06 I got several arrows coming down on my shield, per volley, and at least two that went into my foot. All we could hear was a rain storm of "thunk" as arrow hit wood, and that was against, what? 100 archers? Wouldn't have fancied going up against 1000 of them with sharps. Reguardless of how heavily armoured one might be as soon as that arrow finds that foot, or that armpit, or anypart of you thats only covered with either padding or mail then even though it's not going to kill you, it's put you out the fight.


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Postby gregory23b » Sun Aug 16, 2009 12:01 pm

Indeed workgibbon, just think, some of those arrows came from ME ;-)

However, your lot had almost no archers yet had the tail wind, I came very close to being hit, my left big toe in fact was two inches from a long range drop shot.

"Also we had to shoot at half or three-quarter draw, (very imprecise)"

So the logic would say that have say a limit on full draw, let's say for the sake of argument 30/35 lb, then you will be drawing the bow at maximum, with little scope for massive overdrawing, the arrows will be sent at optimum for that bow and you would be able to shoot more accurately. Not oly that but a half drawn bow looks shite.


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Postby Trading-Dragon » Sun Aug 16, 2009 12:52 pm

Fox wrote:
Trading-Dragon wrote:Yep. We've all drawn the same conclusions

Errm. Not so quickly. I'm not sure we've at all drawn the same conclusions at all. I rather object to you saying so, when the content of the posts are to the contary.
There seems, for instance, to be quite a range of opinions on the effectiveness of arrows against armour; and I strongly disagree with your assertion that "the archer was never really intended to take on the fully armoured knight".


Point well made. :D Allow me to revise my statement:
We've all been informed about the same inconclusive evidence?


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Postby Black Pear » Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:54 pm

G23B:
BP aren't those crossbow bolts in the Wisby man's napper?

On looking again, you could well be right! Although, in the back of the noggin to me suggests fleeing from a volley or being dead/incapacitated face down and on the receiving end of a volley. Were crossbows used to volley shoot like that? I don't know. If so, then I am persuaded, especially as it is in a European context, where crossbows would be more likely.

Fox:
Steve seems to manage pretty well......and I think, from what I've seen, even an 80-100lb bow would be relatively efficacious, if less effective than it's larger cousins.

I wouldn't doubt Steve's or Mark's ability at all, and I am sure they can both do the rate. My point was that those poundages are immense and so would be difficult to maintain, especially for the amount of arrows shot, and especially as, as you rightly say, 80-100# (I would say up to 120#) is a very effective weapon. I think Trading Dragon's point is a very good one, that we are possibly underestimating the amount of armoured men on the field; the effectiveness of the longbow can not be in question because it is used for so long. (TD's question of how many men to take down an armoured knight, I would say one, if he was a big nutter and got inside the arc qucik enough!)

Full draw with lower powered bows has to be the way, it looks right and maximising the bow weight will ensure noone accidently shoots a heavy bow at a heavy weight by drawing fully in the excitement/heat of battle. It's all very well saying that responsible archers will be responsible, but a 35# will have your eye out, and put it into your brain if you're unlucky.



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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sun Aug 16, 2009 8:05 pm

My interpretation of the way italian armies used crossbows was that the first bolts were all fired off at the same time after that you shot as and when you had loaded your bow and aquired a target. Germans may have done it completely differently though, the Swiss certainly used flags to indicate when crossbowmen and handgunners were to move forward en masse but in the Italian wars it is the Spanish/neoploitan army that is the first to use volloyed fire against the Swiss and French.


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Postby Trading-Dragon » Mon Aug 17, 2009 12:54 am

One of the interesting things about medieval war bows and their arrows is that as opposed to other activities like hunting or target shooting, for example, you want to use as heavy an arrow as you can manage with your bow. Compared to arrows we use in modern target or field archery a war arrow is frightening. You want gravity to pull it down hard so that big tip can penetrate as deeply as possible.

Does that mean that if you shoot in an arc, all war bows are actually equally strong as the pull of gravity is the same for all falling arrows, and the only difference is range?

In that case it might perhaps not matter too much if you have got an 80lbs or a 120lbs warbow, unless of course you are actually aiming at someone in the killing zone where a suitably tipped arrow has a better chance of penetrating plate.

I still find it doubtful that the archer was intended to kill knights. I am sure that he was very capable of doing so given the right circumstances but I don't think archers were specifically created to break up a cavalry charge, which was more or less the french style of warfare. They just turned out to be rather good at it (the archers, that is). I still like to imagine that the archer was simply the staple infantryman of English armies at the time and therefore intended to fight all manner of foes, with his main target being lightly armored levies, rather than a powerful minority of heavily armoured knights.

But I am open to arguments to the contrary, especially as i must admit that i am a bit uncertain about how most men-at-arms on the field at the time were equipped. It seems reasonable to assume that not all fully-armoured men were knights and not all knights were fully armoured, depending on personal wealth and availability of kit. Even heavier infantry and cavalry might have been quite a rag-tag bunch.


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Postby narvek » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:12 am

Trading-Dragon wrote:Does that mean that if you shoot in an arc, all war bows are actually equally strong as the pull of gravity is the same for all falling arrows, and the only difference is range?


Not really, the force given to the arrow by the bow stands in the equation as well.

And of course you do need powerful bow to deliver heavy (more-damage-dealing) arrow at required speed.

But then, we all know arrow causes 1d6 damage;)


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Postby Fox » Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:01 am

narvek wrote:
Trading-Dragon wrote:Does that mean that if you shoot in an arc, all war bows are actually equally strong as the pull of gravity is the same for all falling arrows, and the only difference is range?


Not really, the force given to the arrow by the bow stands in the equation as well.

And of course you do need powerful bow to deliver heavy (more-damage-dealing) arrow at required speed.


Bob on Narvek.

The simple physics is about energy; the energy that an arrow loses climbing in an arc is exacty same ammount of energy it gets back on the way down. Of course, it's losing energy through out the whole flight because of drag on the arrow, but the bigger bow still delivers more energy to the target.

And again as Narvek says, the more complex physics is about arrow size.
When you fire an arrow from a bow it flexes and that flex wastes [lots of] energy. So the answer is to fire arrows with a heavier spine.
As a result the extra range you get for increasing the poundage on a bow is much less than you might imagine.
But what you can do is deliver a heavier arrow, which carries more energy to the target, and thus more damage. [Perhaps 2d6 for a warbow arrow, Narvek? :wink: ]

Black Pear wrote:I wouldn't doubt Steve's or Mark's ability at all, and I am sure they can both do the rate. My point was that those poundages are immense and so would be difficult to maintain, especially for the amount of arrows shot

I don't think the evidence supports what you're saying.
So you'd like to treat Steve and Mark as a special case? Arguably they are rare in putting in the sort of training on the war bow you might expect from a medieval archer.
Nevertheless, looking at other warbow users I see at re-enctments, say the lads in Sons of the Dragon; they do not tire quickly using the bow.
I observe that the guys slogging down the field in full plate are more exhausted than these very fresh looking archers.
Do you have any evidence at all to support your assumption about archer fatigue?



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Postby Hobbitstomper » Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:25 am

I’ve played with crossbow quarrels on linen armour. I found sharp broadheads are better at going through cloth than bodkins. Blunt broadheads are not (which is why you’d want them hardened so they can cut through any mail without being bluntened and then the padding underneath). Bodkins should be a very efficient design for going through mail and plate but I doubt they are as effective on flesh as broadheads. No one hunts with them- they all use arrows with cutting edges. If the majority of targets were not in plate or good quality mail then I’d definitely give the archers broadheads.

Testing linen armour is cheap. Get some linen, fold it up to the required thickness, sew it a bit, pin it to a sack of sand and shoot it. If the arrow goes through the sack then that is a kill. Don’t use gritty sand or you’ll trash your heads. (Bet someone says that I should have used ballistic gelatine, like it will really make a difference)

Arrows don’t come down as fast as they went up. Drag slows them down. They go up until they lose all their vertical velocity (but not to as high as they would in a vacuum). Then they come down but at a lower vertical velocity than they would in a vacuum. At the same time the horizontal velocity is being reduced due to drag. Long range arrows will have less energy than short range arrows. That is not to say that a longbow arrow at maximum range won’t have plenty of energy.

However, the terminal velocity of a longbow arrow should be higher than the archer can shoot it at if it could fall far enough- which it can’t unless he was shooting at a target on much lower ground than himself. So shooting off a castle wall should give an archer both range and power advantages!



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Postby Colin Middleton » Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:10 pm

Trading-Dragon wrote:But the basic question remains: why was the warbow so effective?


My guess is that it isn't. At least, not as we would expect it to be. The ideas that I'm picking up since we started this discussion are implying to me that arrows weren't that good at killing people, however the probably made a fantastic 'terror weapon'.

IIRC, the long-bow makes its 'debute' in the early 14th C, when I'm guessing that it was fairly effective against mail armoured men, mounted on horses and against 'light infantry'. It may not have caused huge deaths, but the fact that people were being hurt (and knocked off of their feet even) at 200+ yards from the enemy will have been pretty frightening. Back that up with the volume of arrows that can be delivered in a short period of time and you're going to be asking yourself "What have I gotten my-self into?". Low moral troops (commoners) will be looking for a way out pretty quickly, while the knights might now be starting to doubt that they're as invulnerable as they're used to being. The number of people actually DYING won't be picked up until AFTER the battle's over.

Given that dramatic introduction, the long bow then has a reputation, which is going to make it appear more effective than it actually is. At Cressy and Agincourt, it's possible that the arrows killed very few, but that all the deaths occured in close combat as the Fench armies broke up. Given the reputation of the long bow and the make-up of the army, everyone will then assume that it's the longbow that does the killing.

The fact that guns made such an impact on the structure of armies in the 16th C implies that they had far more penetrating power than the longbow.

So what was the longbow good for? My guess is that it had 2 huge and complimentry effects on the battlefield:
1 - It inspires fear in the foe, out of proportion to the actuall damage that it does.
2 - The massed volleys are used to 'control the field', forcing men to move, when it would be wiser to stay still, funneling armies into 'killing zones', rather than letting them manoeuver as they wish and disrupting formations to allow other troops to take them appart peice-meal, rather than face the 'armoured fist' of a cavelry charge.

If these ideas (thank you to the guys above who sugested them) are correct, the longbow is a devastating weapon, even though it doesn't kill many people!

As to how many levy it takes to kill a knight, just one or two, providing that they're brave beyond the point of stupidity and lucky enough to get past his weapon. Otherwise, at least 20, just for moral support.


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Postby Black Pear » Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:22 pm

Fox:
I don't think the evidence supports what you're saying.
So you'd like to treat Steve and Mark as a special case? Arguably they are rare in putting in the sort of training on the war bow you might expect from a medieval archer.
Nevertheless, looking at other warbow users I see at re-enctments, say the lads in Sons of the Dragon; they do not tire quickly using the bow.
I observe that the guys slogging down the field in full plate are more exhausted than these very fresh looking archers.
Do you have any evidence at all to support your assumption about archer fatigue?

I would certainly consider those guys as a special case, precisely because of the training they put in using heavy bows. That makes them the nearest thing we have to a "live" example of a medieval archer. They show the capacity to be ABLE to shoot a 150#+ bow for a number of arrows, which would mean that given that ability they could shoot a few dozen arrows fairly rapidly using a bow of 90-120# (isn't this the estimated weight for the Mary Rose bows?). What I mean is, I can deadlift 100kg off the floor but only for 5-6 repetitions, but I can deadlift 50kg for 30 or so. My point is that the heavier the bow, the lower the number of draws there will be until fatigue begins to shorten that draw and render your shots less effective. I think that to get the best combination of power vs time shooting, the bow weight must have been around 100-120#.

(Actually, the deadlift/warbow draw is a good comparison of how strong Mark and Steve have got. With a 170# draw bow, you're looking at nearly 80kg on your fingers. Put that on a bar and pick it up from the floor with both your hands and legs (as well as your back), once for each arrow you want to shoot at a frenchyman. Not easy after a while I am sure!)

As for the reenactment archers example, they are (or should be) using low-powered bows or under-drawing and I don't think they shoot for as long as medieval archers would have done, or do they?

My evidence for archer fatigue is only what I have experienced, shooting 8 dozen arrows in a Western round (4doz at 60yds and 4 at 50yds), using a modern 56# longbow. Not a York round (you usually get lunch half way through the 12 dozen shot with that round), but still enough to experience fatique in my experience, hence the discussion!



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Postby Fox » Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:24 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:My guess is...

An interesting angle, Colin; if not one I can immediately and completely agree with.

However, it is almost exactly what's said about the use of gunnes in the 14th and 15th centuries.



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Postby RottenCad » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:43 pm

Should we be considering the tactical deployment of archers in this context? Now, I may be spouting rubbish here (what are the chances?) but ...

Scenario 1
I deploy my archers against cavalry, to keep them from the MAA / padded jackmen in the battles. I'll use crescent horsecutters, or bodkins, agin the horse.

Scenario 2
I deploy them to soften up the infantry advance - fewer clankies in the van, kerniggits with raised visors shouting orders prior to full melee, billmen less protected. Bodkins by the bucketload, and dead bodies making for harder going.

Scenario 3
I deploy them against my opposing archers "counter-battery" style. No plate to worry about, job's a good-un.

Now, where's the next scenario where I deploy them against plated clankies on foot? Tactically, where in the fight will this occur?

In hope of enlightenment,

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Postby Mad Monk of Mitcham » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:57 pm

I would use some of my strongest archers at the begining of the battle, with lighter "flight" arrows, with needle bodkins.

Medieval armies were not disciplined professionals. Arrows falling from the sky, even if not perfectly aimed would force the army to either attack or retreat. I doubt if they would just hang around and take it.

If they attack before they are formed up, they will reach their opponents like a rabble, and probably be defeated, even if they have overall greater numbers.



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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:40 pm

If you read Italian accounts of Crecy they account the Genoese rout as being caused by cannon fire and being charged by French allies (being run down and hacked to bits by your allies never being a good morale boost).
But if you read English accounts they don't even mention cannon being used (although a french chronicle does) and claim it's down to the use of archers and a rainstorm making the strings on the Genoese crossbows loose.
English military historians often claim that the reason why longbows were never taken up in the same way abroad as they were in england was down to fearful rulers not wanting to see their peasents armed with such deadly weapons.
In fact the militas of Dijon, Paris and Bruges were holding regular foot tourneys and shooting contests for their crossbowmen, the french ordannance troops contained large numbers of archers (and many English arners of the late HYW were French), the Swiss and Italians, especially those of Venice, Pisa and Genoa were all holding regular archery contests for crossbows and composite bows of middle eastern style in the 15th century.
I wonder on the back of this if the reasons were more to do with their perception of the longbow being not as effective as their crossbows, compound bows and handguns.


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Postby Fox » Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:16 pm

That is an interesting take on it, Marcus.

I've often thought that fear of the peasants argument was a weak one, given the brief training required to use a crossbow, and later gunnes.

However, does rate-of-fire and range factor into the argument for using the longbow vs the huge investment in training required.



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Postby gregory23b » Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:03 pm

"Should we be considering the tactical deployment of archers in this context?...."

That suggests a lot of sophistication in deployment and somehow a choice on who you are going to shoot against. In wotr the armies are similar, loads of archers (ideally) and others, formations were simple, quite possibly mixed in nature due to the system of raising men. Most men on the field would theoretically be of the limited armoured kind, eg jacks, then for any one with cash or status then more armour. The only required troop type was archer, the rest are simply other soldiers, MAA or men with sharp sticky things.

Given the lack of much campaigning and the apparent lack of evidence for much in the way of drilling or maneuvering I see a problem with complex formations. Now jump ahead 70 years to the mid 1500s and you see a totally different military set up with troops in divisions and types.

re marcus' point on foreign archers, the limelight seems to sit on the English, I suggest that this may be political and PR, it gives a mystique to a force and an 'identity' in a foreign context. It in reality is a simple mechanism, you set up a system whereby men are expected to learn to use a bow and then are pooled and called to sign up when the situation arises. You have a large pool to choose your willing and able men, armed with distance weapons, if you can destabilise your enemy at range then you have half won the battle, moreover it must have been cheaper to have bows and arrows than expect each man to have loads of metal hanging around, just in case.


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Postby wyldstallions » Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:40 pm

Even if the arrow didn't penetrate the heavier armour I wouldn't like to try and fight or advance while being hit with the equivalent of a sledge hammer would definitely take it out of you a bit and sap your morale.



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Postby Black Pear » Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:59 pm

I think G2B is right that there is political thinking (or at least self-promotion) in the reports Marcus mentions: Italian sources blaming treacherous comrades and the latest "super weapon" ("we would have hammered you but for them frenchymen attacking us, the dogs, and you using that devil's cannon on us"), and the English ones belittling the opponent's weapons and bigging up their own and their control over their own country (as in "your crossbows are rubbish, look how they go bad in the rain, our longbows are really powerful and you foreign lot are not secure enough in your own kingdoms to allow your peasants to have them for fear of them removing you from power"). As ever, truth lies somewhere inbetween I would think (rain effects longbow strings too!)



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Postby RottenCad » Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:05 pm

gregory23b wrote:"Should we be considering the tactical deployment of archers in this context?...."

That suggests a lot of sophistication in deployment and somehow a choice on who you are going to shoot against. In wotr the armies are similar, loads of archers (ideally) and others, formations were simple, quite possibly mixed in nature due to the system of raising men. Most men on the field would theoretically be of the limited armoured kind, eg jacks, then for any one with cash or status then more armour. The only required troop type was archer, the rest are simply other soldiers, MAA or men with sharp sticky things.


G23b - I sort of agree, but the physics remain throughout. A commander (whether Edward I or Richard III) can't mix his heavy cav with slower, lighter footsloggers.

My point was basically, by the time the clankies are mixing it toe-to-toe, the whole thing has reached a melee. If they're still on horseback, they will not be in the same "battle" as the grunts.

Therefore the horses become the targets (and they were, else why would they develop caparisons for the nags?).

I'm not explaining this very well, I fear, but certainly at battles such as Bannockburn as early as 1314, Eddy I was organising his units this way.

Cad


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gregory23b
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Postby gregory23b » Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:08 pm

Cavalry in the medieval era are different, in feudal times they are invariably the nobility, the nearest thing to a professional 'class', but the mainstay of english armies was infantry of one sort or another. In the WOTR context you have armies that are very similar fighting each other, we do not know for sure how they were divided up if at all, granted cavalry is not useful when mixed with foot, I had discounted them for WOTR due to them not being that prevalent in the battles, even with Bosworth.

"My point was basically, by the time the clankies are mixing it toe-to-toe, the whole thing has reached a melee. "

But in the WOTR and HYW the clankies are also the archers, ie they all melee, or are expected to. But that raises a point, were they expected to actually engage in hand to hand, I only ask because Simon Diment mentioned that in the Norman period, mercenary archers were paid to shoot not hand to hand. Do we know for sure the situation re english archers, I do find it odd that they might not have been if the mainstay is archers, but open to a quick head scratch.


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Postby Fox » Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:17 pm

Black Pear wrote:(rain effects longbow strings too!)

Oh dear. :roll:

But they are both easily removed from the bow to protect them against said elements, and easily replaced if damaged or degraded.



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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Tue Aug 18, 2009 5:40 pm

Its true the English chronicles mention men rolling up their bowstrings and putting them under their hats or inside their breeches.
The italians didn't see the cannons as being strange wonder weapons bourne by the devil either (they had been using them for about 20 years by then) more along the lines of they had cannons we didn't so we were proper screwed.
They also blame the impatience of the genoese to get into battle as this meant that they did not have time to erect pavaise. (Though a french source blames genoese cowardice and claims that they had to be cajouled into the fighting as they wanted to stop and erect paviases.)


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Postby Black Pear » Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:25 am

Fox:
But they are both easily removed from the bow to protect them against said elements, and easily replaced if damaged or degraded.

As Marcus says, keep them under your hat! You would have to have at least one spare bowstring as a military archer, even today almost every target archer has a spare. There's nothing more, er, exciting, than the string going pop at full draw so you need to keep your string in good nick, and a string breaking when drawn can even break the bow (nowhere for the force to go you see. Likewise, loosing a bow with no arrow is a no-no unless you want to risk a broken bow).

Marcus:
more along the lines of they had cannons we didn't so we were proper screwed

Fair point well made! I was just trying to put forward a politically motivated/weasally reason behind the mention of guns, rather than the practicalities of it all! You know, a reason to blame someone else for losing, a la the frenchymen moaning about the Genovese and their pavises. Interesting the English chronicles say they were impatient to fight and the french say they were cowards.




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